Thursday, December 28, 2006

Short Interlude

This is your Northampton correspondent speaking to you from Reidski's spare room. He is cooking. It smells very nice.It looks very nice too. Can't wait.

I am seizing this opportunity to say that I am all packed for my trip to Lapland - but as I typed those words I realised I have left my lovely warm scarf at home. Sod it. Never mind - it's not like it's going to be cold or anything, according to the multiple news reports I keep hearing about how mild it is north of the Arctic Circle these days.

Whatever the weather I shall have a great time with great friends, and shall have someone to look forward to seeing when I get back.

I could not have imagined this time last year that a) I would in fact still be blogging at the end of 2006 and b) would be about to wish you all a Very Happy New Year using Reidski's computer. Life is full of surprises!

Have a Great 2007 everyone.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Birds! The Birds!

Football team saved by the birds.

Starlings to be precise.

More observant callers to this place may have noted my lot have been shocking at home all season. We knew why this was. It was not the managers fault. It was not the players fault*. It was not even my fault for going through my unlucky turnstile door. No - the problem has definitely been the absence of our starlings.

They used to be regular visitors and when they were swooping around in the sky above the stadium 1) we had something decent to watch, and 2) we always seemed to win. The absence of the starlings has been causing us serious concern. Had Peterborough United fans possibly lured them away with the promise of endless supplies of cake crumbs?

Yesterday the starlings returned.

We didn't dare get our hopes up when the first smallish flock was spotted. Were they there in sufficient numbers for the spell to work? But as we all watched, and I do believe we were all watching the sky rather than any thing going on on the pitch, more returned - many, many more...and suddenly - spectacularly - they split into seven flocks and it was so amazing we all cheered.

Twenty seconds later....

Yes, twenty seconds later....

We scored.

The reason I know it to be 20 seconds is that I have just watched a video on You Tube of the very display to which I just referred. SLIGHTLY tragic that the entertainment was so poor on the pitch that the guy with his phone video started filming the starlings but it does seem to offer conclusive proof that the starlings are the Cobblers lucky mascots!

Superstitious? Moi? Mate! I have seen the evidence!

Address of clip available on request.

* It was really.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Quite a successful day.

I didn't set my vacuum alight - so that was an improvement on last year.

Kids all got on, even during a prolonged game of Simpsons Snap.

I won the Sing-a-long Rock Star game on the playstation with my interpretation of Keane's 'Somewhere Only We Know'. The game will be going back tomorrow marked 'Faulty'.

The only 'OH MY GOD!'moment was when we watched Eastenders. Pauline Fowler dying I can cope with (celebrate even), but Sonia wearing exactly the same red dress as mine and looking bloody awful in it has caused me some lasting damage.


Was quite successful too. Good walk this morning, followed by very good gin and tonic in pub, followed by a rare win for the Cobblers, and then yet another huge dinner as obviously we didn't have enough to eat yesterday.

Any more food and I will look as fetching as Sonia did when next I wear my red dress.

Best heckle at football yesterday expressed after about 40 minutes of watching nothing much happen: "I'm missing Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang for this!"

Latest weather report for Lapland is that it will be mainly sunny for the next two days. SUNNY???!! It isn't even supposed to get light at this time of year let alone be sunny.

Bloody cold though....hooray!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Something else to celebrate

At 3.45 yesterday (precisely) I admitted defeat, went out, and bought a new laptop.

It cost far less money than the other one did five years ago but has several features the other one did not.

The feature that impresses me most is the fact that it works.

A Bit of a Family Do

My daughter and I went to my aunt's last night. Plenty of other friends and family members were in attendance and ages ranged from 4 to 76. Food and drink was provided in abundance, and Father Christmas made a break from his busy schedule to put in an appearance.

Now I don't know if this is merely going to confirm the opinion that my family is totally and utterly beyond help but the main topic of conversation was the up coming results of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Final. For those who have somehow managed to miss this programme a group of celebrity types are introduced to their experienced ballroom dancing partners and have up to 16 weeks - should they get as far as the final - to learn how to ballroom dance. Who stays in each week and who oges is decided by viewers phone votes. Competing last night were the only two left -rugby player Matt and his partner versus cricket player Mark and his partner.

I have to admit straight away that I love this programme myself although I have hardly managed to see any of this series. This I do realise after what I saw of it last night has been to my detriment as the cricket Mark Rampakash really is, for ladies of a certain age - i.e. anyone between 10 and 90)*, extraordinarily attractive and quite the sexy mover.

So anyway, luckily for us, Father Christmas had been and gone by the time 9.30 and the final arrived, and at this particular party - on went the tele and everyone crowded round. My dad remarked that the suspense was killing him - but he always has been somewhat prone to sarcasm. My sister was telling us all how she hates celebrity reality shows, and there by somewhat misjudged what was going on around her - the unconcealed nerves and excitement of the opposing camps - one supported Matt or Mark. There could be no in between. But I have to say by this point we were all fairly sure Mark must have won - going by the number of phone votes my aunt had made for him since we had all been there he would surely have won hands down. (She is a bit worried about next phone bill. My uncle more so.)

We watched both couples in the final dance off. Elderly aunts were noted to be drooling as Mark shook his arse about one last time. I needed a drink myself (another one). Tension was rising. The votes were in - 12.5 million of them last night alone - (hopefully not all originating from my aunts phone). My aunt had to leave the room - though we know she was listening at the door because of the way she yelled "Yes!" and ran back in to jump up and down instantly our Brucie said the words 'winner' and 'Mark' in the same sentence. We were all up on our feet cheering - although my dad did comment that he had thought Matt actually performed better in that final dance off thereby giving away the fact he had been paying as much attention as the rest of us.

It was at that point that the party really took off...on account of ladies favourite Mark winning Strictly Come Dancing.. Well, it is a good an excuse as any for a Christmas booze up isn't it?

* OK. My cousin Sarah didn't see the attraction, but then again she is engaged to Rebecca.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

~and an apology

As my computer is not working yet again - and my sister's which I am struggling with right now isn't much better either - it is really hard to reply to comments right now. Please don't think I am being rude -I will respond properly as soon as normal service is resumed.

Though actually thinking about it- normal service with my flaming lap top is no service at all.

Best Bar of Chocolate Ever

Actually I don’t eat a huge amount of chocolate and I am one of those people who is pretty fussy about what chocolate I will eat.

I like a Kit Kat but it has to be a nice crisp one- preferably one that has been in the fridge first. I also like Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Whole Nut and Flakes, both dipped and otherwise. I am very keen on hazelnut whirls that you get in Milk Tray boxes. Once I was given an enormous box of Dairy Milk which contained 8 hazelnut whirls on the top layer, and 8 on the bottom. I ate just one of them. The following day I went to have another – but to my horror every single one of them had gone from the top layer. I couldn’t believe it. I consoled myself with the thought of 8 more of the bottom layer – but they were gone too. Following the inquest it transpired my husband had got the munchies late the previous night – and had eaten them all. I would not have cared if he had eaten any of the other chocolates in there – but my hazelnut whirls? It was unforgivable. Things were never the same between he and I after that.

My MOST favourite chocolate though is Lindt – milk chocolate. It is SO beautiful. It is nostalgic for me because when I was little my dad travelled away a lot and when he came back he would usually bring me and my sister a box of Lindt chocolate bunnies, kittens or ducks. Loved them, but always felt guilty about biting their heads off because they looked so cute.

Reidski knows this is my favourite chocolate. Last night he gave me my Christmas presents – a wonderful collection of Clash singles on CD’s, followed by what seemed to me by size and taste to be a bar of Lindt chocolate to unwrap. I was right, and kissed him cos I thought it was very lovely of him to wrap me up a bar of my favourite chocolate. Then he told me to look at the back of the chocolate bar. He had stuck to it details of our tickets to see the one show in London I have wanted to see more than any other, but never thought I would ever be able to afford to see – Billy Elliot.

I am overwhelmed by this wonderful present and in fact started to cry.

I want to thank him again here where I hope he will read it, and also want to say to any one else who ever visits here that I hope you too get a present as perfect as I have had this year.

Happy Christmas Everyone.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Never again

Will I defend that bloke who manages Chelsea whose name escapes me. I should have listened to my mother who told me never to trust those swarthy Mediterranean types. "Stick with a good Scottish man" she told me and so I shall - even if one particular Scottish man of my acquaintance rather bizarrely thinks everton are right!

OK - through gritted teeth...maybe Andy Johnson is a reformed character. In my line of work we need to believe individuals can change for the better (difficult though that can be).

(but I doubt it)

Still on football - we have lost the nice Mr Gorman as our manager - he has resigned. Some supporters are saying a certain ex-manager of ours should be re-appointed. They are on about Ian Atkins - Mr Nasty Bully as opposed to Mr Gorman who =Mr Nice Guy, or indeed that nice honest Mr Johnson ( I am trying here - really I am). If Atkins came back I here by swear I would not return to watch my team until such time as he was sacked again.

There is so much I would like to add to this but the truth is - my lap top is knackered again, I am at my sister's - and her mouse isn't working well and it is doing my head in, so I will be back when I can find a computer that will actually operate properly for me.

Wonders - is it me that computers just react against?

Monday, December 18, 2006

In defence of Jose Mourinho.

Not something I find myself saying every day but at the risk of getting sued for defamation of character, Andy Johnson IS a diver.

I bring you in full this quote as it is simply hilarious -

"To publicly question the integrity of a player of Andrew's professionalism and honesty is not only wholly unacceptable and quite possibly defamatory but also, in our opinion, highly damaging for both club and player."

Andrew's HONESTY????? I am sorry???? They can't possibly be referring to the Andy Johnson who plays for England, Everton and previously Crystal Palace because that Andy Johnson is a cheating scum bag.

In my opinion -

These lot are nothing in the diving stakes compared to Andy Johnson.

Andy Johnson is a low life who brings the game of football into disrepute.

No, I don't like him, and yes - his diving twice and being granted two penalties (both converted) when we played Crystal Palace in January this year has got EVERYTHING to do with my feelings.

More worry

I'm not usually at home during the day. It makes a nice change when I am here and get to see my kids getting in after school. They are always surprised to see me and appear pleased at least until the moment it dawns on them I am working on the computer and that they will have to fore go the pleasure of MSM.

It didn't work out like that today though.

My 9 year old niece arrived at the expected time.

My 13 year old arrived at the expected time.

It took me a while to realise that actually, my sons should have been home before my daughter - because one of their friends has passed his driving test and has been giving them lifts.

I can't describe the horrible feeling that instantly took up residence in my stomach. No work has been done since 3.55 whilst every possible horrific scenario played on my mind.

They have just breezed through the door blissfully unaware of the angst they have been causing me. Then they asked how much longer I was going to be as they need to get on MSM.

This evening I remember that I love normal....and how indescribably precious our kids are.

Love this

But I wouldn't want to live next door!

Thanks to Shooting Parrots for the seasonal jolity.

Well if it isn't him

He deserves to be arrested on the grounds of sheer stupidity.

If it is him let's hope the Sunday Mirror's bizarre interview doesn't compromise his trial.

In my case

it led to a meeting yesterday with Reidski's three big brothers.

And yes Yorkshire Pudding - I really could have done with a translator and did a lot of nodding and smiling as I hoped was appropriate.

If my nodding and smiling was NOT appropriate they will no doubt as I type be describing their youngest brother's new 'sort' as a Care in the Community sort, who does an awful lot of inane nodding and grinning.

The more I think about it the more worried I become so time to switch my attention to less worrying matters.....

Football? No, recent form far too worrying.

My sister? No, way, way too worrying.

Lapland for New Year? No, I keep hearing there is as yet no snow in Lapland which is worrying on a personal level as well as on a Global Warming type level.

Christmas? No, too worrying on abuse of credit card limits level.

My post qualifying qualification? That what I am supposed to be working on right now rather than aimlessly blogging when I have a deadline to meet? That is actually so worrying I really am going to have to get back to the subject at hand - Anti Discriminatory Practice. But don't worry - I will spare you the details of that one.


How to blog

Did anyone else see this little article in the Guardian Weekend by Guy Browning?
As he points out, it is never a good idea to start a post with the words "I don't know what to write about today" Not exactly up there with "It is a truth universally acknowledged" as a marvellous opener is it? I often feel that way, but try and stick to the rule 'if in doubt - don't bother.'

Guy Browning also thinks we are all a weary and cynical lot and that if I called this 'Sunny Thoughts For Today' nobody, but nobody would ever come near. (Any comment pointing out hardly any one comes near here anyway will not be appreciated!)

So I found myself in agreement with what our Guy was writing but wait...what does he end by saying? 'Never meet someone you contacted through a blog. Your disappointment in them will be nothing compared to their disappointment in you.'

Oh Lord! Now I AM worried.

This year I have met in this order Jim, Lisa, Cloud, Martin and John and really liked all of them - but they were probably horribly disappointed in me...bugger it! There was someone else?????

Ah well, all I can say about meeting Reidski is that if he was terribly disappointed when he met me, he was ever so polite, managed to disguise the fact, and is still doing so quite well nearly a year later. So regarding Guy's advice - stick with the care with opening lines and titles, but if you want to meet another blogger - take that risk, although you never know where that will lead to.....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It doesn't matter

Earlier I was pleased to read that they have discovered that circumcision significantly reduces a man's chances of contracting HIVand I was even more pleased to hear the news of this development given to us by the spokesman for the World Health Organisation, Dr Kevin de Cock.

But that was five hours ago before my latest battle with my sodding PC which has been absolutely determined I should not get on line tonight. Some time in the last five hours I appear to have had a sense of humour failure and can't see why I ever thought that name was mildly amusing in the first place.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Strange people

With all the horror that is going on in Ipswich at the moment you might not imagine that some pedant would take the time to ring the BBC to point out Ipswich is a town and not as described on the radio a city.

But someone did.

On the same subject I heard someone else on a phone-in this morning say that no one cared about a load of slags being bumped off. If I were in the police force I would be making a point of visiting that callous bastard - preferably at the most anti-social time in the early hours of the morning possible. Well he has surely to be a legitimate suspect doesn't he?????

Monday, December 11, 2006

How much my sister hates waste part 2.

Following on from this discussion with mum my poor mother now stands accused of throwing away a piece of cold toast instead of bringing it from my sister's house to here and giving it to my rabbit. Mum insists she ate the piece of toast but my sister does not believe her and is not happy because as we all know she really hates waste. As there is no supporting evidence in the form of a cold piece of toast it is difficult to know what to think.

I have just sat and listened to a full scale row over this piece of toast.

Sometimes I worry about my family.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

You see!

He told us he was ill!

A tribute to modern medicine - keeping Pinochet out of the clutches of the courts since 1998.

Football, bloody football.

Another depressing afternoon spent at the Cobblers yesterday.

We play a nice to watch passing game. We have an excellent young goal keeper and a fairly tight defence. One or two of our players in midfield although they are not so young as they used to be eg Ian Taylor and Eoin Jess are still exceptional players at this level - but our 'strikers' are facing the biggest crisis of confidence since records of crisis's of confidence began. Lost count of how many golden scoring opportunities went begging and also lost at home (AGAIN), this time by two goals to(inevitably) nil.

That after one and a half days spent Christmas shopping in Milton Keynes (The Horror), and then encountering a posh twat in the carpark who said "At least the Saints won." I nearly had to hit him. Have I mentioned how much I hate my town's rugby team? Well, it's not so much the team I hate as their supporters who all seem to be there as they think the 'rugger' is the place to be seen. They are the kind of people who if forced to talk to you are looking none too subtly over your shoulder for someone influential to talk to. And as the saying goes "Where were they when the Saints were crap?"

Anyway, by the time I met Reidski last night I was very much in need of a drink. Had a great time with him as ever, prevented from being 100% perfect only by his regular reminders that "Never mind - at least Millwall won." As that means they are now only two points below us that news was not exactly guaranteed to cheer me up. :-(

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


According to the vet I heard on the radio today this cat (if we could hear him which we can not - it is a photograph) (I felt I needed to clarify that point) is producing 'inappropriate vocalisation.'

Translated this means the cat is making a right bloody row.

A social worker could not have phrased it more obscurely...and I should know.

'London to Brighton'

is outstanding.

We saw it last night and I think the trauma induced by watching it is just about starting to receed.

Richard Hawley - The Ocean

I've put this here for Martin and John who I think saw this performed live.

Also because it is so beautiful.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A missing sandwich bag.

I was telling my mum about the phone call I got when I was on the loo at Scratchwood Service Station. She may have trumped me with tales of stupid phone calls received from members of my family.

My sister has a catch phrase which goes "You know how much I hate waste." We have all heard it so many times now we just repeat in unison, "Yes, we know how much you hate waste." An example at random - On Thursday she walked down the road from her house to mine carrying an opened tin of tomatoes. It turned out to be a gift because "You know how much I hate waste."

She saves and reuses sandwich bags. I do not have a problem with that but.....

Whereas I was on the loo, mum was in the bath when the phone rang. She got out to answer it. It stopped as she got there. She gave it the 1471, and it was my sister's number. She doesn't ring mum much so mum thought it must be important* and delayed her return to her bath whilst she rang her back.

My mum - "You wanted me?"

My sister - "Have you moved the empty sandwich bag I left on the window sill?"

My mum - "No."

My sister - "Are you sure?"

My mum - "Yes."

My sister - "It's just that I did see a sandwich bag thrown away in my bin the other day and you know how much I hate waste."

My mum - "Is that what you rang me for?"

My sister - "Yes."

My mum - "Goodbye."

* Mum was wrong.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

We were going to go to football on Saturday

but we didn't actually manage to get up in time.

I am very glad we stayed in bed for various reasons but primarily for this reason.

Guess we will just have to 'concentrate on the league.'


I went to Reidski's Work Christmas do. I was very nervous like I always get when I really want people to like me and for them not to spend the following Monday at work asking each other what on earth he sees in that idiot?

Some of his friends I had already met which did help. It is always lovely to see Messalina and I have got to say that she looked radiant that night...really, really happy.

Free bar all night helped too. The only problem with that being that although I talked to lots of his mates during the evening I have very little recollection of who I talked to and what on earth I talked to them about. I do remember one bloke correctly identifying the perfume I was wearing. That has never ever happened before in my entire life.I was impressed even if I can't remember who it was.

I know I told his Millwall supporting boss that I never ever shouted 'Come on Luton' whilst sitting with the Millwall supporters when they were playing Luton. Had he not most unfortunately been sitting right next to me when I DID actually shout 'Come on Luton' there would have been more of a chance that he might have taken my word on that.

One of Reisdki's ex's was there. It is OK though. I am reconciled to the fact that I could never ever compete with the bosom (HUGE!!!!) she had on show and I can live with that fact.

But what I DO remember very clearly indeed was that Reidski danced with me. First time ever, and apparently his first time for many years, though I don't know why. The boy can dance and he 'done good'.

Everyone I met was really nice (I feel fairly sure I would remember if anyone hadn't been), and it was a Real Good Do.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow the discussion in his office will not be 'What on earth does he see in that idiot?'

Overheard in a pub yesterday

From very loud bloke indeed.

"I have never vaselined my arse in my life."

(Am hoping I beat Reidski to mentioning that.)

back to reality

I have just got home from a totally brilliant weekend spent with Reidski. There is loads I want to say about the past few days, and no doubt there is loads I shall say about the past few days but first a word on what it is like being a mother.

On my way back I stopped at Scratchwood services in need of a 'comfort break.' They have just done up their loos there incidentally - very nice facilities indeed. So anyway, I am having a wee when my phone rings. It is 15 year old son. I answer in hushed tones, not really wanting all the other women to overhear me having a chat on the phone whilst on the toilet. "Someone has moved George's jumper!" he announces. "Pardon?" says I. "SOMEONE has moved George's jumper!" "Dearest number 2 son, what the fuck are you talking about?" So the explanation such as it is goes that on Friday he brought home from school by mistake the jumper belonging to his mate George, and George took his home. His has been washed and pressed by George's mum. George's had been 'moved' and had been washed and pressed by no one.So he rings me, who has not been in the house since Friday morning and who had no idea he had brought back George's jumper by mistake, but I am nevertheless expected to be able to solve the mystery of who moved George's jumper, whilst sitting on the loo at a motorway service station.

We mum's can often work miracles but I had to point out to him that there were limits to even my magical powers and could I suggest he bloody well looked rather harder than I suspected he had looked so far to find George's missing jumper.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Richard Hawley was...


I will leave the music review bit for Reidski cos he is far better at that than I am, but apart from the music which was superb, Hawley just comes across as such a great bloke. He is funny, relaxed, and chats with the audience like we are old mates. He is also very good with hecklers.

He asked if we liked the new backdrop which was two fancy, glittery and entwined letters - 'R' and 'H'. He said he thought they looked a bit 'gay' and then said he had nicked them off Rolf Harris; and at this point someone shouted out (what could have been a request???) 'Two Little Boys!' "Listen pal" replied Hawley, "I don't tell you my problems, you keep quiet about yours" adding as an after thought "You can get arrested for that sort of thing you know."

Not a good week at the checkouts

OK, tonight I was unloading my stuff from my shopping trolley when I realised the jar of olives I was about to pay for had a loose lid and that the brine from the jar was leaking into a puddle on the floor making it look not entirely unlike a puddle of wee. Was it not for an event earlier this week which also took place at the checkout I might have been slightly embarrassed. The previous event at the checkouts however took checkout embarrassment to a whole new level against which appearing to have weed on the floor pales into insignificance.

I was about to pay for a box of these. I had already noted with some slight dismay that the checkout assistant was an elderly male but thought 'What the hell?' And then I dropped the box as I was about to put it on the conveyor belt. 32 of the small roundish items fell out of the box and rolled out in every direction. And I had to retrieve them.

It was interesting how not a single male in the store appeared to notice???????

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


In June last year I went up to Sheffield for what was my second attempt to see REM. My first attempt had been in February. It was snowing. The concert was at the Sheffield Ice Hockey Arena and we saw the support band, but when they came off Michael Stipe came on to say 'Terribly sorry, concert off.'Mike Mills had just been rushed to hospital. So Stipe and Pete Buck did a few acoustic numbers and then promised to return. I drove back down the M1 - slowly due to by now very thick snow. I have had better nights out.

So fast forward to June and there was great speculation about who would be the support and many big names were being mentioned eg Razorlight, Idlewild and others who I can't remember now but got quite excited about at the time. It turned out to be some guy called Richard somebody or other who looked like he had wandered in direct from the boozer on the corner. He was certainly a local. I said to my mates at the time, I think he would be good in another venue, but here in the massive cavern like arena it was just so wrong. I wrote about him when I got back on my previous blog. I said having rather run down his performance, no doubt he will be the next big thing as I have a history of failing to appreciate bands who were on the verge of mega success like to my lasting shame, Talking Heads. Cue release of wonderful album by Richard Hawley 'Coles Corner'.

Reidski knew I was contrite about my appalling lapse of judgement because he saw other things I wrote at the time. Anyway, when we first met each other we were getting on really well when suddenly he said he had got me a present - 'Coles Corner'. It was so unexpected, it was SO nice of him, and it led fairly directly to our relationship moving to a level somewhat above that of 'just friends'. So finally I arrive at the whole point of all this reminiscing. Tonight we are going to see Richard Hawley, and this time I am going to fully appreciate him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Which one would you pick?

I have to ask.

I don't often see the Daily Mail (honestly!) but yesterday I saw these pictures of two women who competed in a Channel 5 programme called 'Make Me A Super Model'. Fashion industry 'experts' described the shape of the one on the right as 'perfect'. The one on the left was apparently too fat. The full story is here.

Never mind 'heroin chic' - Channel 5 proudly presents 'Final stages of terminal cancer chic.'

Of course, The Daily Mail would have more of a leg to stand on if they didn't take such delight in publishing photos of attractive women highlighting a spot of cellulite on their hips.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lured under false pretences

So anyway, how to get Reidski to voluntarily spend all of Saturday in Northampton? Well, I didn't get to be a middle aged cobbler (oh how that phrase is like a knife through my heart) without learning a few tricks about how to tempt a man. The solution was easy....

I promised him an afternoon watching the Cobblers play Orient.

Sad to report however that disaster struck - as did thunder and lightning. The pitch got water logged and the match was rained off, but after he arrived, so I am very sorry to have to report the entire afternoon was spent in a pub.According to its web site here the pub we spent most time in was designed with the discerning adult in mind. Luckily, they still served us.

It was a strange coincidence that we both had headaches the next day - I blame that on withdrawal symptoms what with the football being cancelled and all.

Surely some mistake

I have no objections to any one finding my site through a search on the words 'sex goddess'. I accept however in the real world it is more often a case of finding me through 'chewing gum on trousers' and (still top search) on 'sun blushed tomatoes.

I do object to being found by a search on the words 'middle aged cobbler.'

So this is a personal message to a blogger in Indiana:

Dear Reader from Indiana - there has been a mistake. You should not be here. Please go away and stop making me feel my age. Do not take this personally. It is not you - it is me. Thank you and sod off. Jane.

This is the offending search =

Friday, November 24, 2006

Very worried

having just seen this that our highly rated young goal keeper has a speech impediment.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cup Football Success

It was SO exciting. 'We' were totally outplayed but 'we' scored the only goal of the match and 'we' saved a penalty. Yes, Celtic's newest supporter was very happy last night. Nakamura scores from free kicks like that every time I watch Celtic. He is amazing. Reidski ended up though singing (loudly!!!) in praise of Louis Saha after his three very welcome contributions to the match. The Man Utd fans in the pub seemed to take it quite well in that Reidski is still alive this morning. Saha's contributions were as follows - 1) Stopping when through on goal as he wrongly thought he was off-side. 2) Having his 89th minute penalty saved. 3) Not scoring at any other stage of the match either.

And to round off a perfect evening the Mighty Cobblers beat Grimsby in our FA Cup replay match and progress all the way to the second round of the FA Cup. Bring on the Barnet! (That's what passes for a glamour tie at this stage of the cup....Not as Borat's humour coach would no doubt say.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm a bit sad tonight

We have a family friend who lives in the village. He is mid 50's and has been on his own following a divorce for years, and has had zero luck with women. He works really hard but scarcely earns the minimum wage, and he suffers with chronic asthma, but he is the kind of person who will do anything for a friend.

Nearly two years ago it looked as though his luck had finally changed. He nearly died from a particularly bad asthma attack which was or was not lucky depending on your point of view I suppose, but whilst recovering in intensive care he fell in love with a nurse on that ward, and she felt the same way about him.

She moved in with him and he was a man transformed by the love of a good woman and she really is a good woman. She is South African and was working here sending money home to support her family. Last Christmas though my friend's luck seemed to revert to normal and she had to move away as her work permit would no longer allow her to work in our local hospital. I guess I should have sensed something was a miss at that point but maybe I chose not to think too deeply about it.

My friend was distraught by the gap she left in his life. He had no money or means of transport to get to see her due to the distance she had moved, but some six, seven months later he rang me up and asked if I could take him to meet her at the railway station. She was coming back to him.

Being there to see their joy when they met again was a privilege. They were just so happy to be with each other again. All was right in the world.

Or at least it was until the police came and arrested her at 2.00 am a few weeks ago. We couldn't find out what the hell was going on. My friend's house was searched form top to bottom. Stupid rumours circulated eg she was drug pusher. She was held in custody and my friend was denied any contact with her.

So we now know what her heinous crime was and the punishment she has been given for it. She took a felt tip pen and tried to make the '6' in the year '2006' look like a '9' on the work permit in her passport. In fact she was planning to go back in February next year anyway as she missed her daughter so much but she wanted to see this year out with the man she loved. As the report of her trial last Friday says - she showed no one this alteration,and if she ever had it would have been blindingly obvious it had been clumsily altered so no advantage could ever have come from it. She made no financial gain by means of it as no one had asked to check she was still legally entitled to work here. Her lawyer is quoted as saying"In my opinion this is at the absolute lowest end of the scale. The passport has never been used and no gain has come from it."

For this dreadful crime which fully deserved the house raid in the middle of the night I am can't be too careful with these evil middle aged nurses after all...she will be in prison for 40 days and will then be deported. The only good thing I can see in all of this is that the money she would have had to spend on her fare home next February can now go towards her family who she was only here in the first place to look after as I suppose the Home Office will pay for her deportation. Not that I could say that to my friend who tonight is more upset than I have ever seen any man before.


They have been talking about virgins on the radio. In particular they are talking about the 72 virgins available to those who die as martyrs for Islam. This has always worried me because I can't help wondering what happens to the virgin once she has been taken by the martyr and - how to put this delicately? - is no longer as pure as Paradise would require. Is she then cast out as a sinner to where ever it is that sinners go? Also, are there 72 virgins for each martyr or do they have to share them out between them, and as the numbers of martyrs increase that may present a problem - surely one can only be a virgin the once? And what do they wear these virgins? Presumably the virgins would be well covered up as modesty on this earth requires so how could the martyr be sure he was going to fancy his when the veil comes off? The discussion on the radio inspired me to consult the Oracle (Google). This is what I have just learnt:

Modern apologists of Islam try to downplay the evident materialism and sexual implications of such descriptions, but, as the Encyclopaedia of Islam says, even orthodox Muslim theologians such as al Ghazali (died 1111 CE) and Al-Ash'ari (died 935 CE) have "admitted sensual pleasures into paradise". The sensual pleasures are graphically elaborated by Al-Suyuti (died 1505 ), Koranic commentator and polymath. He wrote: "Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin*. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [ie Muslim] will marry seventy [sic]** houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetising vaginas."

*So that's how it's done! Excellent - virginity saved by a miracle...lots of times!!
**Definitely 72 virgins - I double checked that bit.

So now I am slightly (ONLY slightly mind) concerned for the martyrs. They have to cope with an eternal erection! Surely there must be moments in Paradise when a hard on would be both inappropriate not to mention down right embarrassing?

One more thing occurs to me. What is the incentive for the female martyr? Personally speaking I wouldn't want my reward in Paradise to be a series of encounters with 72 fumbling virgins but I guess it might be a bit tricky admitting lots of blokes with loads of sexual experience into Paradise - especially as they would be so tempting to all those virgins up there. What would the martyrs say if after all their sacrifice to get to Paradise in the first place the sexual studs had already deflowered the virgins?

This is all far too complicated for me. Thank god or whoever else it is one should thank that I don't have any after life to believe in.

I am going to label this post 'eternal erections' just to see how many google hits result from that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Think Peter Kay

if you want to know exactly what the party Reidski and I were at last night was like just remember Peter Kay's wedding party stories - dancing dads and all.

Teenagers snogging, grannies doing The Macarena., blokes up on the floor giving it all they have got to 'Hi Ho Silver Lining,' and the drunken lass sitting outside on the door step sobbing her heart out cos Darren has dumped her for 'That cow Rebecca Horton-James.'

I couldn't relax because I was wearing a M&S dress which having featured recently in a poster campaign for that shop has, as I read the other week on the front page of The London Evening Standard, single handedly turned round the ailing fortunes of that company because so many of us bought that dress. I was expecting at least half a dozen other women to turn up wearing the exact same dress. No one else did thank god, but now I am worried that every other woman was looking at me and saying to each other 'How very last month that dress is that she is wearing.'

That angst apart, we had a laugh.

It's Premiership football, but not as we know it

Piece of footballing comment heard today by Reidski and I:

"If Wigan win here today they will go above Liverpool and Reading in the table."

That is SO weird in respect of all three named teams.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I found out something new about my daughter yesterday

I thought that last night I would spend a few hours sat on my backside watching various displays by talented school students, the vast majority of whom would be completely unknown to me. Quite honestly the prospect wasn't that inviting but my daughter was part of the deal and so there I was.

For the past few weeks she has been involved with other pupils at the school in a project aimed at stretching students identified as 'Gifted and Talented'. It was based around a fictional hit and run incident and basically the drama group gave us the suspects and their various alibi's, the English group gave us the media reports on the crime, the design and technology did IT displays whilst the humanities discussed issues relating to crime and punishment and the science gave us the forensic evidence. What I had not realised was that we parents were supposed to solve the crime and therefore had t0 stay awake and involved. We were taken around to meet with the various subject groups and so far from having the sneaky snooze I had been anticipating I instead found myself engaging in a discussion on the death penalty with a group of 12 year olds*, and conducting scientific experiments to discover whether certain material strands left at the scene of the crime were made of cotton, silk or were man made with the aim of uncovering the culprit. I had forgotten what great fun Bunsen burners are!

So who was responsible for the hit and run crime?

Was it the unlicensed hoodie wearing guy in his early 20's?
Was it the drunken single mother?
Was it the stressed out distracted wife of the rich man who was cheating on her?
Or was it the respectable business man?

Well we were also encouraged to think about whether we stereotype criminals and of course I was guilty of that from the off. I KNEW it was the 'respectable' business man and I was right! I mean - how many respectable business men are there??? Yes, I love a good stereotype me (see previous comments on public school oiks below).

So anyway, what I learnt about my own daughter was that she can actually speak nicely. This comes as quite a shock to me who expends much wasted breath in trying to get her to drop the 'Estuary English' accent. For her part she had made a radio news show and she was the lead presenter. She sounded beautiful - she pronounced her 'T's and everything.!!!!!! Now my challenge is to persuade her to speak that way at home. Why do I feel so pessimistic about my chances?

* They were all for it of course....

I despair of the English Education system.**

** Just Joking.

The other night

The night sky was amazing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I have recently been buying lots of Tesco Value fruit and veg. I have discovered most of it is just as good if not better than the produce which does not carry the label 'Value'. After all, just because a Cox's apple is not the exact circumference that The Man From Tesco has demanded it must be does not mean it can not taste good. So I have been congratulating myself on my shopping acumen.

As with so much in my life I have been deluding myself.

Side by side in Tescos tonight - Broccoli and Value Broccoli.

Broccoli 50 pence per kilo, 22 pence a pound.

Value Broccoli £1.49 per kilo, 68pence per pound..."We won't be beaten on VALUE". (Except obviously by themselves).

And no, the broccoli wasn't on special offer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The primary reason why I love where I live is that I feel a sense of belonging. Whilst it would disturb some people that a five minute walk to buy a newspaper can take an hour due to the necessity to chat to everyone you meet on route I like that. I like being asked how my parents are, or hearing people express their astonishment at how tall my lads are. Yes, there have been occasions when I knew my private concerns were being talked about as though they were public business but I accept that as coming with the territory of community.

I have lived in this village for 16 years but my connections with it go back to 1983 when my mum and dad took over one of the two village pubs. It is a very pretty village and since I have been here house prices have risen until I understand that this is one of the most expensive villages in the county to buy in. What feels like another life time ago I had a mortgage on a house here but nasty things happened and I now rent from the local landowner, who owns much of the property round here. At first I thought when things got better I would be able to buy again locally but I have long since accepted that that is never going to happen. Obviously I am not the only person who can not afford to buy a place in this village. The young people are forced out to cheaper accommodation in the local towns. Most of the council housing is now privately owned so that option that was once available has gone. New faces move in.

Now I know that there are still in existence the attitude that you will be an 'in-comer' unless you Can prove your family links going back six generations but I don't think like that. Friendly neighbours are welcome here as far as I am concerned. What I don't like is those that move in and then contribute nothing to the local economy or community.

Taking the local school first as I really believe that without a village school a village to all extents and purposes dies. Mr Duff has asked me with reference to my previous post how I know it is an excellent school. Apparently he can not accept that my three children having attended it and me being a governor for 9 years is sufficient to give me the knowledge to state it is an excellent school. Neither is the report from OFSTED which calls us an outstanding school good enough for him so knowing I am wasting my time praising it I will however say that the children all exceed their academic potential at our school. Behaviour is excellent. There is a caring ethos. The curriculum is broad and challenging, for example all pupils learn Spanish and those over 8 do French as well. The school plays are tremendous and include parts for every child from 4-11- they did a production of Macbeth the last year my daughter was there. We contribute to the village - for example by an annual litter pick and an annual candle lit carol singing procession. We won the prize for the best primary school library in the county last academic year. We have awards for sport, have won prizes for our art and poetry and offer after school clubs to cover a wide range of interests. We are used by the County Council as an example of what small schools can achieve. And so on and so on but all this is achieved for a school with 3 classes and currently 67 pupils. We NEED every child in the village to attend the school but of course they do not and without fail it is those who move in to the village from places like London who send their kids to the private schools. I can not accept that any private school can do a better job of educating primary age children than we do.

Then this is the question of the local pubs - hub of the local community no longer. My parents pub was like the bar in Cheers - everyone knew your name. They were there for 15 years. Anyone could walk into the pub then and know they would get a warm and genuine welcome. They would be looked after. Chips or sandwiches would be handed round at no extra charge. Money was raised in the pub for various local good causes. Now however the various landlords who have come and gone - five sets now in 7 years - have been only interested in serving food. Beer drinkers were made unwelcome and got out of the habit of using the pub. Raffles which raised money for local charities were halted. It was the same story at the other village pub. On the rare occasions I go in them now I have the weird experience of knowing no one either side of the bar. The village can not support two pubs which rely solely on food so the various passing landlords move on. Don't they have any understanding that actually it makes good business sense to look after the locals? Apparently not. Some of those newer residents incidentally have never been spotted in the village pubs or in any of the village shops.

We have a very active social side of village life here. Events include a Country Fair, a village quiz league, shrove tuesday events, firework displays, mums and tots, youth club, wine tasting, a village weekend of fund raising events, an annual plastic duck race (don't ask!) and much much more. Again, some of the newer residents are never seen at any of these. Their contribution to the life of the place where they live is a big fat zero.

I honestly think I wouldn't have especially cared what these newer residents did were it not for something that happened last year. There was a proposal to build some housing association properties here to give some local people the opportunity to remain in the village. There was a public planning meeting and it was very well attended indeed. It was in fact well attended by people I had never set eyes on before. They turned out to be in professions like the law and surveying. They were very articulate. And they were very very opposed to anything that would alter the nature of the village in which they live but to which they contribute nothing. The proposal faced with such opposition from these articulate professional people was thrown out. They finally did their 'bit' for the village - and guess what? When they did their bit I hated them for it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

'You grow up and you calm down'*

So. Private schools.

This friend of my neice's who is to go to private school is the son of an old friend of mine. We were mates when we were at university in Hull and we shared certain beliefs. I particularly remember that we just KNEW The Clash were the best band in the world ever, and that we just KNEW private schools should be abolished as they perpetuate the evil class system. What was it again that he used to really hate? Oh yes, it comes back to me - people who 'Sell out.'

This morning I find myself rather depressed and recalling the lyrics of 'Burning Sky' by The Jam - another band we were both really into - 'Ideals are fine when you are young and I must admit we had a laugh but that's all it was and ever will be.'.

Apparently on Friday this ex-mate of mine made £250,000 via some business he conducted on e-bay.

My sister did shame him into saying that he would much rather have sent his son to the local state school. He lives in Highgate - one of the most expensive areas in London - but wouldn't you know it, the school of his choice was unavailable (the only decent school in the Highgate area????) and it was either private school or a school in Tottenham so 'What can you do?' No, clearly it wouldn't do for his little Johnnie to attend a school with nasty working class kids.

Would I feel differently about this if it was my child faced with attending a school with a really bad reputation, and if I had the financial means to pay private school fees? I HOPE I wouldn't but I don't suppose I could stake my life on it, but I do know that every time a family like that of my former friend chooses the private system instead of the state then another state school loses the chance of engaging with motivated and interested parents and kids to the detriment of that school. With that knowledge I would feel so very very guilty if I did ever find myself even flirting with the idea of private education for my children.

I think of myself as a tolerant person. Why, I even chat amiably with rival football supporters in the pub before games and have been known to congratulate them afterwards when their team has stuffed us (through gritted teeth mind). However, I have fallen out irreconcilably with people in this village who to me inexplicably do not send their precious darlings to our village school but send them to private schools instead. This choice made in the face of full knowledge that our village school is judged to be an outstanding school by OFSTED. In the community but not OF the community. Which brings me on to the subject of people who want to live in a beautiful village but who have no desire whatsoever to have to engage with their neighbours, but that is a rant for another day.

* From 'The Clampdown' - by The Clash. Wonder if he still listens to them?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A logical concern.

My neice aged 9 was very concerned about her friend who she heard was going to go to private school. She is worried he won't have any one to play with what with it being a private school :-)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My hair

which was a bit red is now a lot brown. DARK brown. SO dark brown that when I got home last night and walked in the kitchen my daughter shrieked 'Your hair is black!' I am hoping that was on account of the two light bulbs out of the four which have blown in the kitchen and not because my hair is in fact black. Not that there is anything worng (as opposed to with my typing) with black hair on a person who would suit black hair but I am not too sure that I could get away with black hair now my punk rocker days are behind me (by approximately a life time).

It is so different I scared myself when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror ths morning (OK- not for the first time, but this fright was of the 'Who the Fuck is She?' variety rather than the 'Oh my god, I look bloody awful in the morning' type of fright which is pretty much a daily type fright).

Going to work with a different look is a strange experience. You feel hopelessly self - conscious. Other people react in diverse ways. Some colleagues will not notice full stop. They can spend many hours a day in your company and be perfectly unable to tell that anything different has occured whatsoever. Then you get the ones who know 'something' is different but take till about 2.30 in the afternoon to gently enquire 'Have you done something to your hair?' followed by 'I knew there was something different about you!' There is always one who will note correctly that you have done 'something' to your hair, and then decline to make any another comment at all so as to leave you convinced you look simply awful. And then thankfully there are the nice and observant ones to whom I am today extremely grateful.

By mentioning all this in some detail I hope that Reidski will be sufficently alerted to the fact that I have done 'something' to my hair and to at least pretend to like it.

Home is where the delivery is.

I only spent about two and a half hours this afternoon on the phone to BT Yahoo, Parcel Force and the Royal Mail. I spoke to each of these companies at least twice. I am practically bessie mates with some old guy at my local sorting office. Slightly annoying though that I had to spend so long on the phone chasing the missing wireless internet connection bits when I had a hundred and one things I needed to be doing at work.

It was all arranged. BT would send the items to my work address between 8 and 1.00 today. My phone calls commenced at 2.00. I would not have been quite so anxious to find out what the hell had happened to the delivery were it not for firstly, the fact that all three companies kept telling me my delivery had been made, and secondly, the very closely related fact that I knew it had NOT been made.

So obviously I split my sides laughing when on arrival at home (the place where the delivery was NOT to be made to) I find that in fact home was exactly where it had been delivered too. You would maybe imagine ONE person I spoke to would have been able to tell me where they had made the delivery too - but no. They plead 'data protection.' It's my bloody data for god's sake!

No matter! Not only were the parts delivered but I - Miss Completely and Utterly Hopeless in All Technical Matters - have got it working. I would be so happy if only I could be sure Reidski is going to like my hair..........

Apologies for the lack of communication around these parts

Well yet again I am without internet access. Just for once I can not place the blame on the shoulders of Packard Bell or PC World which is a shame as I always enjoy having a dig at those two useless companies. (Although the latest edition of Which magazine has done a fine hatchet job on PC World I was delighted to hear on the news this morning. It could not happen to a more deserving of a hatchet job company.)

No, for the current lack of internet access I either blame my son for tripping over the wire and breaking the modem, or I blame myself for knowing fully well that was an accident that was always going to happen if I didn’t replace the trailing wire with a wireless connection….and so it came to pass on Monday morning.

So now I await the arrival of my wireless connection, and surprise, surprise, it hasn’t arrived when it should have done. Mind you, Reidski has been waiting for his modem to arrive for over three weeks now so I can’t do the ‘Why does it only happen to me?’ bit. I have tried a wireless connection before. Mind you, I bought it in PC World* so why did I imagine for one moment that I would be able to get the thing to work? Needless to say it had to go back for a refund.

I do hope to be back visiting you all soon.

* Excellent! Did manage to get in dig at PC World after all!

This message is brought to you care of Reidski Publishing as he can access the net from work. I can only do so for really important things – football message boards, What’s On in Northampton (one of the smaller web sites in existence), and my most favourite and useful website The Betterware Catalogue

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Back to drawing ways

Yet again we don't win at home. Yet again we should have and it isn't just me saying that.

Although we aren't picking up the points we should be getting I am really enjoying the football so far this season. Only anyone who has had to suffer what 'football' is like in the lowest leagues can really understand what I mean when I say it is such a pleasure to see the ball actually being moved around the pitch with a modicum of skill rather than the hoof and hope of most lower league sides. The football played in League 1 is just SO much better than that in League 2. Last season teams came to us and as we were favourites for promotion came just to defend. They would basically put ten men behind the ball and it made for really boring / terrible games. The only way to get the ball past the solid mass of opposition players was then to resort to the same tactics they employed and try to kick the ball over all of them in the vain hope that our 5 foot 8 inch striker could out jump their 6 foot 6 inch defender and nick a goal. Now we obviously are NOT promotion favourites the games are much more open and good to watch.

An old cliche employed by Sky commentators when at a League 1 match is the line about 'What a great advert for League 1 football'. I could say that about nearly all the matches I have seen so far this season. As Reidski mentioned here recently, the Premiership is dull and defensive. League 2 is rubbish. I can't comment on the Conference as I have no idea how bad/good that is, but it seems to me if you want to see a good football match either the Championship or League 1 are the leagues to watch. Which may be some consolation to supporters of sides currently struggling in the Premiership - but probably not a lot!

I hate chewing gum because

1) Everywhere you go pavements are covered in the stuff.

2) I will never forget when an idiot called Jerry Wiggins put some in my hair.

3) I have spent much of this weekend trying to remove chewing gum from my son's school trousers as he managed to sit on some. Bizarrely I even resorted to putting the trousers in the freezer for a few hours this morning having been told this sometimes helps - though how anyone came to discover such a fact in the first place I really can't imagine. Not that it has helped me of course.

Any chewing gum removal tips will be gratefully received.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just enough

bread left in my house for two slices of toast and marmite. I made a cup of tea too and with tea in one hand, plate of toast in the other I pass the phone just as it rings. I put down the plate of toast on a chair so that I can answer the phone. And that was the exact moment one of my cats decided to jump on the chair,landing slap bang on top of my toast. Toast, marmite and cat hair anyone?


Thursday, November 02, 2006


I know nothing about police policies and procedures, but even if it was perfectly in order to give the man who killed Jean Charles De Menezes his gun back, what kind of person would want the opportunity to fire a lethal weapon again after what he had already done? Wouldn't an average kind of person with human feelings go away and have a nervous breakdown instead? In fact, I reckon that the very fact that this man was prepared to go back to armed duty again proves that he must have been psychologically unsuitable to do so.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How can mauve EVER be a power colour??

And if a butterfly is my power symbol it doesn't suggest much power to me.

Oh well, probably about right

Thanks to Lisa via Gert

Your Birthdate: March 2

You're so intuitive, it's like you have a sixth, seventh, and eighth sense.

You connect with others freely and easily - and you tend to have many best friends.

Warm and caring, it's hard for you to close your heart to anyone.

Affection is like air for you - you need to give and receive it to survive.

Your strength: Your universal compassion

Your weakness: Your unpredictable mood swings

Your power color: Mauve

Your power symbol: Butterfly

Your power month: February

Wednesday Morning.

I have just looked at this again. What an absolute load of flaming rubbish. Mood swings??? Me??? God these things make me so mad.

My sister does Disney

In January this year my sister, much against her better judgement, was talked into booking a holiday in Florida where the emphasis was to be strictly Disney.

Now we went there five years ago with friends and had a simply brilliant time. It was just after 9/11 that we were there. British people 'brave'* enough to travel at that time found themselves feted as the greatest friends America had - but apart from that embarrassment the holiday was one long laugh.

One thing I remember from it was my propensity to get lost. It was very strange. One thing I am normally really good at (THE thing I am normally really good at) is remembering places. As a general rule if I go down a road I have been down before I remember it, even if it was years and years ago. In Orlando I could simply not recognise anywhere and this resulted in several very round about trips back to our villa. Two such journeys stand out in particular. The first when a wrong turning resulted in me and Fiona facing three armed guards by a security gate. The second was when I was following my friends in their hire car. I followed and followed, across lanes, around corners, I kept right on their tail for fear of getting lost yet again. Then they turned into a shopping area. I wondered what they wanted to buy. They stopped the car. I stopped my car. They shot off at speed. I shot off after them. They drove round the service area behind the shops and so did I. Which was when I finally realised I had in fact been following the wrong car and whoever was in the car ahead was clearly terrified I was out to rob them at gunpoint. Hire cars do have a tendency to look all the same. And by then I was seriously lost!

Back to my sister. The holiday was booked for the half term just gone. We were all insanely jealous. She however was incapable of accepting she might actually enjoy it. If I had a quid for everytime I have heard her tell someone over the past ten months that 'Florida isn't really her kind of thing'I would be rich and nowhere near as irritated as I was hearing it without the financial incentive. She would bore people rigid telling them that she looks for a bit of culture on her holidays and she was really only doing this for her daughter. The day before they left she was still saying she would rather be off for a week in France (where she has been many times before).

My sister has another habit and that is when you ask her after an event if she had a good time she will start by pulling a face and saying " was alllll right I suppose." Can you tell this drives me mad? So I was dreading her return from Florida. I did seriously consider that if when I asked if she had a good time she started with another "Welllll....." I might have to smack her.

She got back yesterday. She was at my house when I got home from work. I hardly dared to ask the question but, deep breath, "Did you have a good time?"

Sheepish look from my sister, followed by huge grin "It was bloody brilliant!" she was forced to admit.

Hold the front page! MY SISTER HAS GOOD TIME IN FLORIDA!!!

Although she did complain that you can't buy brown bread out there so she hasn't returned to us a completely different person ;-)

*Bravery had nothing to do with it. Cowardice comes closer. In fact I did have brief second thoughts about travelling at that time, but simply wasn't brave enough to contemplate telling the kids we were not after all going on the holiday they were so very much looking forward to.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Jinx has left the stadium!

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! (and why does that sound horribly familiar?)

My beloved team finally won at home with the season a mere three months old.

There was a lot of looking at each blankly and trying to remember what we were supposed to do when the final whistle went and we had won."What did we always used to do again when this happened? Oh hang on.... it is coming back to me....CHEER!"

And in my case, go down to Reidski's place - have far too much to drink - and crash out in front of Match of the Day. (Were we on?)

And will blogger publish this if I ask it VERY nicely?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It was FAR from alone

What the environmental health man told me was that a certain farmer had lent one of his barns to a turkey farmer. He had filled the barn with poor Christmas table bound turkeys and was feeding them growth hormones. The food containing the growth hormones was dropping through the raised floor of the barns where they were being eaten by rats. This had two effects. Firstly it produced a massive increase in the local rat population and secondly, it produced individual rats the size of cats. The E.H officers were out in force trying to eradicate the problem but they were losing. No home was safe. One of my mum's best friends was featured on the front page of the local newspaper as her house was overrun with them. There was a great big photo of her stood next to a dresser, along which was running a rat. I don't know what caused her the greater distress - the rats or the fact that the accompanying headline screamed 'Pensioner in Rat Horror House'. She is a very glamorous woman who had not previously seen the necessity to tell anyone she was over 60 - and now the whole county knew.

In our village we have an annual 'Safari Party' where we get sent from one venue to another for various courses of a meal. This particular year the party was in October. Anyway, you don't know where you are going till the last minute. For the main course that year I got to go to the farm where the rats were and this in the very same week that our rat plague had reached the newspapers. All the assembled guests were trying not to mention it in front of our hosts although there was much fevered discussion about it whilst they were away in the kitchen. It was agreed that in Fawlty Towers style we should 'Not mention the rats' as opposed to not mentioning the war, but in hindsight this was an unfortunate decision, bringing to our collective minds as it did, Fawlty Towers episodes.

I think all might have gone well had not they reappeared from the kitchen with one of those big silver serving dishes with a dome over it.

As it was, each one of their guests were reminded instantly of the Manuel's pet rat Basil episode and collapsed in hysterical fits of laughter.

Our hosts didn't find it funny.

It was not alone

A few days later I was hanging out my washing when there was a helluva commotion from the other side of our fence, and as I looked over to see what was going on one of my cats leapt over the fence with something in its mouth. Two things were immediately obvious 1) the thing was very large, and 2) the thing was very much alive.

I shrieked in what must have been a rather girly manner, but unfortunately my shriek scared the cat who rushed into my kitchen, still carrying the thing in its mouth. I got into the house just in time to see that quite obviously what my cat had in the kitchen was a rat. It wasn't a good moment. In the words of the song (UB40??) "There's a rat in my kitchen, what am I going to do?" I can deal with mice, I can deal with birds, but quite honestly in the face of adversity I realised I wasn't so good with rats. And now I had one in my house. To be precise as the cat had now shot up the stairs, I had a rat in my daughters bedroom - a box room - a VERY small room. I shut it in there with my cat.

It was clear to me that what I needed was a man. But they were in short supply as they were working and stuff. Ah, but my friendly and brave shop keeper would be in and he was only across the road! Excellent. Such a nice man and I know he would do anything for me. I rang up and explained that I had a rat in the house safe in the knowledge that he would turn up Sir Galahad style, and remove that what was causing the fair maiden* distress. Wrong again Jane. He was very sorry to have to tell me that he had a terrible deep seated fear of rats and couldn't possibly come to my house if it contained a rat. Arrh but, he did have a workman in and would send him over to help me. Excellent. I open the door to see a six foot four inch skinhead with a tattoo on his forehead (yes, honestly - that is a true to life description)heading up my drive. I thank him profusely and take him upstairs (as one does with strange men all the time) (that last comment is not to be taken seriously). We go into the tiny bedroom and the door is shut behind us. He asked me where the mouse was. I told him it was a rat. He jumped a mile and the colour drained from his face. "I don't like rats" he said.

For a few minutes nothing happened as neither of us could really think where we went from there, but then there was a knock at the door and it was the shop keepers wife armed with a broom. Anita I should mention is about four foot ten and what I would guess is an American size 0. She is a tiny woman. She joined us in the bedroom - the six foot four skinhead, the tiny shop keepers wife plus lethal weapon (broom) and me. Still we debated what to do. The cat was under the wardrobe just out of sight but something had to be done. The skinhead (Frank as I now knew him to be called)plucked up courage, took the broom, and cautiously looked underneath the wardrobe. He reached under it very gingerly and then withdrew his hand holding out at length and by its tail, one very dead rat.

OK, so now I personally had encountered two rats in a mater of days. Enough was enough. I rang environmental health and told them I thought there might be a problem with rats in our village. "Tell me" said the environmental health man wearily, "something I didn't already know."

* Yes, OK - poetic licence employed.

In the beginning

It was a peaceful and sunny autumnal day in an attractive Northaptonshire village. The rural bliss was however somewhat ruined for me by the inconvenience and general unpleasentness caused by a blocked drain.

The man from Dyno-rod was summoned.

He arrived.

The man hole cover in the front garden was raised. Dyno-rod Man prodded and poked as men from Dyno-rod are wont to do. In the meantime I made him a cup of tea which is entirely irrelevant to the narrative but I want to paint a fuller picture of the incident. Eventually he asked me to go inside and flush the toilet so he could see if the drain was now free flowing again. When I came back outside to him he was staring down into the drain. "Do you" he enquired "have pet gerbils?" Had I been speculating on what he was about to say to me, that question would not have been in the top 5 guesses - nor, let's face it - the top 555,555 guesses. Anyway I said that I did not have any pet gerbils. "Oh, he said, "So that down there is a young rat then. I haven't seen rats down a drain for a very long time."

Looking back on this incident it could have been a scene setter for a movie - you know the one where one small, seemingly insignificant incident is the harbinger of trouble to come. In this case, of very many such troubles with pointy noses and long tails. The Rats Were Coming!!!!!

PLEASE NOTE. I want to make it quite clear that I am not the kind of person who, should I ever happen to keep pet gerbils, would flush one down the toilet when it died. No, any pet gerbil of mine would receive a decent burial, and have a daffodil planted on the burial site in memorial. Thank you.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Departed

We saw this filmlast night. It is not for anyone of a sensitive disposition......I loved it. I won't say too much about it in case any one is planning to go and see it but firstly a definite bonus for women of a certain age is that Leonardo DiCaprio has grown up and for the first time ever I saw the attraction. Secondly the film cries out for someone to say "You dirty rat" and anyone who does see it will understand why. And the other thing is as Reidski pointed out - they are going to have trouble making a sequel.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Charlotte Bronte, I have a bone to pick with you.

OK, I am usually more than happy to ignore the odd coincidence in 19th century literature. I was for example, perfectly able to enjoy 'A Tale of Two Cities' without ever once reflecting on the amazing fact that Sydney Carton looks exactly like Charles Darney. Pride and Prejudice will always be my favourite book even if Mr Darcy is by sheer chance the nephew of Mr Collins patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. But there are limits to my ability to suspend my disbelief for the sake of a good book.

So Jane Eyre is heartbroken and runs away from Mr Rochester asking the coach to take her just as far as her money will allow. She is set down at a crossroads in what I am guessing is supposed to be the middle of the Peak District. She wanders for three days in the wild before passing out on the doorstep of an isolated cottage. It turns out that the three inhabitants of said isolated cottage are the cousins Jane never knew she had.

Reader, at that point I nearly ditched the book.

Give me some realism any day - A good Jilly Cooper for example (Question from ed. "Is there such a thing?")

P.S. Was going to make sarcastic comment about poor Jilly being unable to attend the ruby wedding of her dear friends Jeffery and Mary Archer which she understands was such a 'Wow', but having seen the reason she missed it I will try and resist. However, her on-line diary is well worth a quick look. Highlights include the tale of how another 'lovely party was graced by Dame Vera Lynn, looking as beautiful as ever.She is such fun and such a wonderful example of how an A List celebrity should behave.'. There is also reference to the 'Jillywood Tours' where apparently we mere plebs can take a bus tour past various cleb houses,including Jillys well appointed home. She name drops, amongst many others, such people as Alan Titchmarsh, David Mellor and John Craven ( he of the Newsround). Oh yes, her web pages are worth ten minutes of anyone's time.

P.P.S. Apologies for the Jilly Cooper bit which was certainly not planned. I got carried away by her unassuming modesty which is an example to us all.


Moo tagged me to do this about 1)turning to page 23 of the nearest book, 2) finding the fifth sentence, 3) posting the text of the next three lines, 4) not digging out an intellectual or cool book, but genuinely picking up the one closest to you, and then encouraging others to repeat the process.

Slight problem. the nearest book to me (sheer coincidence of course) is the Good Pub Guide 2006, and page 23 turns out to be an entire page of Authors' Acknowledgments. Dull, dull, dull.

So dipping into the book I bring you my favourite featured pubs -

Eagle, Cambridge
Dog and Gun, Keswick.
Anchor, Sutton Gault near Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Rising Sun, Tarporley, Cheshire
Blue Anchor, helston, Cornwall
Devonshire Arms, Beeley, near Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Masons Arms, Branscombe, Devon
The Bell, Horndon on the Hill, Essex
Saracens Head, Symonds Yat, Herefordshire
White Horse, Hertford
Wheatsheaf, Woodhouse Eves, Leicestershire
Wig and Mitre, Lincoln
The George, Stamford
The Vine Hotel, Skegness*
Malt Shovel, Northampton
Lincolnshire Poacher, Nottingham
Turf Tavern, Oxford
Falkland Arms, Great Tew, near Oxford
The Crown, Southwold, Suffolk (and The Harbour Inn)
White Horse ('Nellies'), Beverley
Olde White Harte, Hull
The Maltings, York (which I failed to find on my last visit there - sorry Reidski for the wild goose chase)
Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus, London W1
Black Friar, Blackfriars bridge, London EC4
Spaniards Inn, Hampstead
The George, Borough High Street, near London Bridge

And of course The Amersham Arms, London SE14. would have been on the list were it not for its inexplicable absence from the Good Pub Guide.

* have to declare a bias - my mum and dad used to be the tenants there.

God, it was sheer hell researching that list.

Just got struck down by lightening for some strange reason.

Anyway, sorry for not sticking strictly to the blog rules. I see I still have a few counties to suss out pub wise, not to mention countries - Scotland and Wales. Other people count Munroes (George!) - I count good pubs.

Anyway, sorry for not sticking strictly to the blog rules Moo. I tag people to recommend a good boozer.

Things you least expect to hear

from someone you know VERY well...

"My friend knows Grayson Perry."

I still can't get my head round the fact that I know someone who knows someone who knows the bloke on the left of this picture. Nor indeed can I stop laughing about it.

Apparently Mr Perry is 'making a statement'. He certainly is.....

Could do better.

Does this mean I should abandon all hope of getting my stolen make up back?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Slush alert - avert eyes anyone with a sensitive stomach

I am sorry about this. I do, believe it or not, try not to go on too much about how happy I am when I am with Reidski. This is quite difficult. For one thing, it still overwhelms me that I met a blogger I had such a girly crush on - never mind that we then fairly instantly fell in love when we did meet. And for another thing, we really do have such good times together I feel the constant urge to go on and on about it, but that would be the shortest route to ensuring I would have as many vistors here as I have just seen had a look at my former blog last week - i.e. no visitors whatsoever. It would be really really tedious.

Quite impressive actually to see these statistics on the site meter -

visits for week ending October 21st - 0
average visits per day - 0
page views for week ending October 21st - 0

and much more in the same vein!

Thus I realise I take a risk in saying the following but I plough on regardless. I remember reading about Reidski's 40th birthday, and a year later I was still reading his stuff when he had his 41st birthday. On both occasions I wanted to e-mail him and say - well, say what exactly? That was always the sticking point. I wanted to say 'something' to him, but ran the huge risk of making myself look like a deranged stalker type woman. 'Hi, you don't know me but will you go out with me?' Yeah, I can see how effective that would have been - had I wanted to scare him half to death. Oh dear though, on reflection that was pretty much exactly what I did end up saying to him when I was eventually offered a reasonable excuse to e-mail him. Moving right on....I can hardly believe that on his 42nd birthday, I was out with him and a group of his work mates before going back to his flat and spending three very special days with him.

Lisa who we met with Cloud for a drink or three in London on Saturday very sweetly says that Reidski and I are a blogging success story. I certainly think we are a happy blogging story. Life is full of surprises. I never expected to fall in love with a stroppy ex-communist when he wrote about his drunken scooter accident. (For clarification - that is a scooter as played on by children - not a motorised adult type one.) OK, maybe I did need to actually meet him before I could really say I was in love with him, but the feelings I had for him long before we met were very powerful. Weird seeing as how I had absolutely no idea what he looked like. Before we did actually meet he sent me a photo so I would know what he looked like which turned out to be a picture of someone from the Planet of the Apes. Then he told me people said he looked like George Graham, and I suppose he does a bit, but I think he looks like Kevin Spacey, although they do say love is blind! Anyway, anyway, anyway - all this stupid unfocussed rambling is just by way of saying I have had a wonderful few days with a wonderful man, and I am a very lucky woman.

I promise to get back to waffling on about something more significant next time - like the Cobblers magnificent 1-1 draw at Brighton for example, although with apologies to Steve, I am tempted by the subject of Man City's abject performance yesterday which managed to get no fewer than 8 of their players into the Observers 'Flops of the Day' team in todays paper. Quite impressively bad by all accounts. It could be worse Steve - you could support West Ham!

London driving

Frankly, I'm not keen. I am fine on the motorway,but when I get into London three words keep playing over in my head - 'Swiss Cottage Roundabout'. I know that the way I come into London it is an unavoidable road junction, but oh god, it is so scary. Reidski having spotted I am a wimp in this situation (Cries of 'Oh my bloody god!' mixed with the occasional scream of terror seem to have given me away on that front.)is kind enough to come and meet me when he can before Swiss Cottage so that he can demonstrate his London Driver Credentials, and get us through that madness in one piece. After that, if he is happy to carry on driving I am not going to argue, especially as people are so incredibly impatient in London. Today he got hooted to hurry up when a light turned green as he took approximately half a second to put the car into gear. So anyway, thanks to Katy Newton for this inspirational tale of how to deal with ignorant road users, which I look forward to putting into practice when next in London traffic.

Except would I dare? Last night we went and saw Lets Zep, who are a truly brilliant tribute band. According to the posters at least, Robert Plant said of them, 'I walked into the concert hall and saw myself'. They were extraordinarily good although why someone who can play guitar like the Jimmy Page look-a-like can is not in his own band is just a mystery. Best bit of evening was watching Reidski's lad and his mate head banging away. Worst bit was getting to meet the lad's mum, also known as Reidski's ex, by a sheer piece of malevolent misfortune on the tube train on the way there. Not that she wasn't very nice, as she certainly was, but quite frankly one could have done with a bit of preparedness for such a first meeting to try and avoid the becoming a tongue tied gibbering idiot scenario that did in the event occur.

Back to the would I dare question.

As we left the concert a bloke some yards in front of us saw fit to throw a glass bottle over his head and it smashed into pieces. Luckily no one was hurt by the flying glass, but luck was the only thing that prevented that. Reidski told the twat in language that he would understand just exactly what he thought of him, and I found myself screaming at him that 'There are kids back here you moron.' Or words to that effect. And I was simultaneously advancing towards him to tell him in a more up close and personal way what I thought of his stupidity when I heard Reidski caution against it and I stopped. I suddenly realised that confronting a drunk who thinks nothing of throwing a glass bottle around might not be the wisest thing I had ever done.

So thinking about it, the next time I get hooted at by a little old lady in a 1975 Ford Capri Ghia, I will definitely 'have a word' Katy style. On second thoughts, I can see the headlines now -'Police hunt Septenarian Road Rage Killer'so maybe I just have to accept I am truly and deeply a wimp, and 'Get Out Of The F*$$£|^G Way.'

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just wanted to add

that we are really looking forward to catching up with Lisa and Cloud in London on Saturday. See you both in Covent Garden then!

And now I am away till Sunday...hope everyone else has as good a weekend as I am sure I am going to have.

My lap top is back

I am thinking of opening a sweepstake so people can bet on how long it will be this time before it goes wrong again.

Anyway, it is repaired in the nick of time as I go back to school today. Having sworn blind that once I got my qualification that was the absolute bloody final time I ever studied, I then found out that extra qualifications equals more pay, so here I go again.I suppose I should be saying I embark on this course in the pursuit of knowledge, but no - I do so in the pursuit of more dosh. I already know what I want to buy with my extra salary...a decent computer. Mind you, computers may all be obsolete in six years time. Six years is the average time this new course takes to complete.

What a depressing thought!

Happy Birthday Reidski!

See ya later darling.

And I promise faithfully that I did not get your present from the Betterware Catalogue - tempting though their merchandise is ;-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Public service post

You didn't know you needed some of these, but you do! How very convenient for the cook in a hurry not to have to go to all that trouble of putting on the grill and cooking the fish fingers that old fashioned way. Far better to pop them in a bag and then into the toaster. Five minutes later - up they pop, toasted fish fingers. wonderful. The bags can also be used for burgers and oven chips. I predict that thanks to this labour saving device the oven will soon be appearing in a museum near you.

I do love receiving my Betterware catalogue which is a source of endless amazement. How for example, have I lived so long without this cracker keeper, which not only helps avoid the scourge of broken crackers but is also, according to the catalogue, useful for biscuits.

I am tempted by the bra extender which is available in white, but I bet not in the exact shade of grey-white my bras that no longer fit tend to have gone.

And as for this gorgeous jewellery holder? Well at least the mystery of where on earth my in-law's used to get my Christmas presents from is now solved.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

I mentioned a month or so back about my good friends who have recently split up. Anyway, my friend A rang me up at the weekend and she was wondering how I would feel about a few days away over New Year. I have for most of the past ten years, spent New Year with her family but obviously this year was always going to be different. My initial reaction though when she asked about the chance of getting away was cautious as I am not what could be described as ‘flush’ in the financial area. She pressed on and told me that what she wanted to do was see this year out with a real ‘bang’ and thus was proposing to take me and my children, plus some other mutual friends to Lapland for four days…her treat.

I don’t think I heard anything she said after that for the following twenty minutes or so having gone into a deep catatonic shock caused by not believing the evidence of my own ears. After that time I had to ask her to repeat everything she had just told me, but it would really seem to be the case that I shall be seeing in 2007 somewhere beyond the Artic Circle. New Year this time round will be different alright.

I don't know when my kids were last quite so excited about anything. Even D managed to smile in spite of realising he would be forced to miss a Cobblers match. (D to me,"Couldn't you and I get a plane out there after the match and catch up with the others in Finland?" Me to D "I don't really think so dear.")

Two days later I have finally got my head together sufficiently to look at the web site and start to imagine it. There are many things I want to know about where we are going, and what it will be like so I turned to the Frequently Asked Questions which are very helpful. Especially this one - ’Will it be cold?’ If anyone else is wondering about the answer to that tricky question related to a trip in mid winter to the north of Finland I should be able to get back to you with the definitive answer sometime after 2nd January 2007.